There are a few things you should know if you suspect your air conditioner has refrigerant leakage. If you don’t handle this problem correctly, it can be a real pain in the neck.
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Most customers who have their air conditioners serviced learn that the problem is refrigerant leakage. Freon and refrigerant are the same stuff, so don’t get tripped up on the terminology.
Even if the AC’s Freon level drops, it only indicates a leak. As a result, it isn’t something you’d expect to see in an AC system.
The amount of Freon in an air conditioner must remain constant throughout time, unless there is a leak.
It’s not clear why the Freon is leaking. Keep reading to find out the solution to that.
What is Freon?
Begin with the fundamentals. As the cooling agent used in air conditioners all around the world, refrigerant is responsible for dispersing cool air into our residences, places of work and virtually any other enclosed entertainment location.
Refrigerants such as Freon (also known as R22) are commonly found in older models of air conditioners. Check the nameplate of your air conditioner to see if this is the coolant it requires.
Air conditioners made after January 1, 2010, must utilize a different refrigerant, according to new regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s because Freon depletes the Earth’s ozone layer, which protects us from the sun’s UV rays.
Since so many air conditioners were manufactured prior to that date, R22 is still available for maintenance and repair of AC units. It’s not something you can just walk into a hardware shop and buy. The Clean Air Act, the regulations attempting to phase it out, also say that only certified technicians are permitted to purchase Freon. This safeguards not only the environment, but also the health of the general public, as the inhalation of refrigerant gases can be harmful.
4 Causes of Refrigerant Leaks?
It is possible that your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant for a number of reasons. The following are some of them:
Vibrations are one type of vibration. In order to run an air conditioner, you will experience vibrations. The weakening of AC components over time might lead to cracks in the air conditioner due to the vibrations.
corrosive action Aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, and other metals are used in the construction of air conditioners. Because of air pollutants like cleaners, aerosol sprays, and off-gassing from building materials and furnishings, they will begin to corrode over time. Rust will eventually form on condenser units that are exposed to the elements because they are located outside of a structure.
Pinholes in the skin. Pinholes in the evaporator coils can also be caused by chemicals in cleaning products and off-gassing from furniture, hardwood floors, and pretty much every other part of your home. Formic acid, a common chemical in many home products, can also generate these holes.
The AC unit’s age. Air conditioners typically last between 15 and 20 years. Close to the two-decade mark, you might be living on a prayer if your unit has weathered the challenges described above for the majority of that period.
4 Signs of a Freon Leak
Signs to look out for include:
I can’t get my air conditioner to cool down! Please do not panic if your air conditioner does not cool down for no apparent reason. It may simply be that the air filters or the condenser unit need to be cleaned or replaced. Always remember to turn off your AC and its power source, whether it’s a fuse box or a breaker, before changing filters or cleaning condensate lines on your own. It’s possible to have a refrigerant leak even if both parts are clean.
It seems as though your air conditioner is always freezing up. It’s likely that your AC is freezing up because the filters or the condenser need to be cleaned, much like when your unit isn’t cooling. If neither of these is the issue, but your system continues to freeze, you may have a refrigerant leak.
A hissing sound can be heard. It’s possible to hear a tiny hissing sound if your air conditioner has a pinhole or a crack, because refrigerant is compressed.
Electricity costs are rising at an alarming rate. You can set your thermostat to automatically turn off your air conditioner when the temperature in your home reaches that level. Your AC won’t be able to chill the air, which means that your home will remain hot and the air conditioner won’t turn off. The unit is working harder (and costing you money), yet it’s doing no good.
Air Conditioner Freon Leak Symptoms You’ll Feel
The dangers of refrigerant poisoning are real. Being exposed to it can cause a lack of oxygen to your cells and lungs, as well as damage to your organs, despite the fact that it is completely odorless. As soon as you see any of the symptoms of a refrigerant leak in your AC unit, you should contact an HVAC specialist. To put it another way, stop reading and call right now.
As a result of inhaling the noxious fumes, you or your loved ones may experience the following symptoms:
- Eye irritation
In the long run, exposure can lead to more significant health issues and even death.
Where Are Freon Leaks Typically Found?
The evaporator coil is a common site for Freon leakage. Weak points include the “U” joint, weld points, and other places where the metal is subjected to a lot of stress.
The Schrader valve is one of the other possible locations. The same kind of valve that you’d find on a tire air pump. When the Schrader valve gets stuck or the rubber seals degrade, the air conditioning system leaks Freon or refrigerant.
Accumulators are a feature of heat pumps. A heat pump’s accumulators are composed of steel, which can rust after a few years, making them ineffective in the cold.
There is a capillary tube leak in the evaporator coil on the inside, or in the heat pump condensing unit on the outside, depending on your setup.
Flare connections in an air conditioning or heat pump system are where leaks are most likely to occur.
Filter dryers are an essential part of every refrigeration system because they collect even the smallest amounts of moisture. Key components might otherwise be destroyed or blocked if pollutants were not filtered out before they got inside. They contain screens and desiccant inside, while the steel outer shell protects them from the outside elements. Steel rusts with time.
Damage has been done to the line set that carries refrigerant from the condenser to the evaporator coil. A lawnmower or someone piercing the line set can cause damage.
How Do You Find a Freon Leak?
There are a variety of methods for locating a leak in the pipelines.
Installing a liquid tracer into the air conditioning or heat pump system and leaving it there for two weeks is the best way to find Freon leaks. A little amount of fluorescent dye is circulated through the cooling or heating system. When a refrigerant or fluid leaks, the color is carried away with it. The dye fluoresces brilliantly when the system is examined with an ultraviolet inspection lamp to determine the precise source of each leak. Multiple and intermittent leaks undetectable by any other means have been found using this strategy. Even the tiniest of leaks might add up to a gallon of water every year.
If your air conditioner or heat pump is leaking Freon, a professional air conditioning technician must be called in to pinpoint the exact location of the leak and prescribe the best course of action to fix it.
The following issues may indicate a refrigerant leak:
- It takes a long time for your home to cool down.
- Your air registers are spouting out warm air.
- Your evaporator coils have froze to the point that they can no longer be used.
- A hissing noise can be heard.
R22 Freon Is Expensive; Can I top It Off With R410a?
Unfortunately, R22 and R40a are incompatible. Unlike R22 Freon, R410a refrigerant is made of synthetic materials. Your heat pump or air conditioner will be severely harmed if the two are combined. It would be analogous to adding synthetic oil to a car that is now running on conventional oil.
R22 refrigerant costs about $100 per pound, and because most air conditioners require just 2-5 pounds of refrigerant, topping it off can be pricey.
Because R22 is being phased out in the United States due to its significant potential to exacerbate ozone depletion, its price has skyrocketed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has attempted to limit the usage of this substance by enforcing severe production limitations.
Call Universal Air and Heat as soon as possible to find and fix the leak. Your air conditioner’s or heat pump’s lifespan can be drastically reduced if there is a refrigerant leak. If your system has refrigerant leaks, a member of our top team of air conditioning and heat pump professionals can quickly assess the problem and make an informed recommendation for the most cost-effective remedy possible.
Call A+ Air Conditioning for AC Repair Service in Gainesville
As a result, we provide AC emergency service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Let us know if you think your AC has a refrigerant leak.
Contact us today and we’ll get your air conditioner up and running like new again.
It’s A Wrap!
In order to remedy a Freon leak in an air conditioner, it is necessary to seek the assistance of a specialist.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for those indicators in case there’s a leak.
To learn more about your ari conditioner, please click here.